Located in the historic fishing village of Port Salerno, the Manatee Pocket is a picturesque bay featuring an array of restaurants, marinas, ship building/repair facilities and fishing charters. The Pocket is also home to the Port Salerno Commercial Fishing Fleet and the Chapman School of Seamanship. Its immediate access to the Okeechobee Waterway and the Intracoastal Waterway make the Pocket a popular jumping off point for the boast crossing the state or departing for the Bahamas.
Silt build-up - worsened by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 - had reduced the Pocket's depth to 4-5 feet in some areas, making it is difficult or impossible for large yachts to reach waterfront businesses. The accumulation of muck sediments had generally degraded the Pocketís habitat. Concerned citizens were the catalyst for this dredging project.
After 18 months and the removal of approximately 280,000 cubic yards of sediment, the channel dredging of the Manatee Pocket was completed in January 2012. The resulting 100-foot wide main channel has already greatly improved navigation and access to the pocket and its tributaries, providing economic benefits as well as enhancements to the natural environment and water quality.
Mechanical dredging work will continue until the end of March 2012, as additional sediments are removed from the Pocket as part of the private dredging portion of this project. The dredging contractor has also begun the process of removing sediment from the material handling site located on US-1 and demobilizing dredging equipment throughout the pocket. The entire demobilization process is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012.
The $13 million dredging project, coordinated by Martin County, was funded primarily through grants from the local, state and national programs. For more information about the dredging project, visit The Manatee Pocket Project or call 1-800-580-9149.
The goals achieved by this project are:
- To view a map of the revised channel marker locations click here
- Increase the draft and size of vessels that would be able to access the Pocket
- Define a channel to minimize impacts to adjacent shallow water areas and benefit manatee protection
- Remove detrimental sediments
- Improve the ability of marine life to re-establish in the Pocket
- Improve the water quality in the Pocket by greatly reducing the re-suspension of sediment